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I have several church cook books from growing up – if you don’t know what I’m talking about your probably not from the south.  That’s ok darlin, but your missing out on the best of life if you don’t have a few because they have everyone’s grandmas best recipes out of some church and they are all delicious comfort food kinda stuff. I was flipping through a few for a soup recipes and most of them have neat quirky little bits of advice or stories. I’m usually knee deep in cooking by the time I pull one out so I never took the time to notice before but her are some awesome tips I found today when scrolling through a few of these cook books:kitchen tip.


Nana’s Red Earth Cake (super moist, super devour-able)

Nana’s Red Earth Cake (super moist, super devour-able)

One of my Nanas many recipes that people ask for is her Red Earth Cake.  I have been meaning to post it for awhile now.  I went home and made it with her about a year ago and took pictures but never set down to type it all up. My cousin Brooke (check her out she writes too) recently called and asked for it and since I text-ed it to her I figured I could take the opportunity to cut and past and add some pictures and finally get it on here. This recipe is precious to me and the time I got to spend with my Nana learning it is even more precious to me.  My Nana is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and I have been trying to enjoy all the moments while I can along with learning and compiling her recipes.  It is one of the reasons this blog is a huge part of my heart and soul. Please enjoy this as much as our family has over the years.


Red Earth Cake
Cake Ingredients:
½ cup shorting/Crisco
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon red food color
3 tablespoons hot coffee
1 7/8 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Icing Ingredients:
1/2 stick of oleo or butter
16 ounces or a box of powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons cocoa
3 tablespoons hot coffee
1 teaspoon red food color
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cake Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Measure out the buttermilk first and pour it in a larger bowl and then pour in the baking soda and stir. It will increase in volume. Be sure to stir it well so that all baking soda dissolves. Set mixture aside.

Cream Crisco in mixer. Add sugar gradually and cream until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.

Mix cocoa, food color, and coffee in a small bowl to form a paste. Add to creamed mixture and beat until incorporated.

Add flour and salt mixture and then buttermilk mixture to the batter, beating to incorporate after each addition. Add the vanilla.

IMG_8308IMG_8309  IMG_8317IMG_8326

Bake in two 8 inch cake pans, with parchment or waxed paper liners at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until it separates slightly from the sides of the pan. Don’t over bake. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Icing Directions:
Cream butter with sugar in mixer.

Make paste of coffee, cocoa, food color and vanilla and add to creamed mixture. If necessary, add more coffee until icing is of spreading consistency.

Ice the cake and between the layers… Devour as needed 🙂


…….good luck it’s delicious!

ROASTED GARLIC IN THE MICROWAVE?! Is it really possible?

So as I was flipping through some recipes I found step by step instructions on roasted garlic in the microwave and had to give it a try! I bookmarked it and just had the chance to try it out last night. Mine worked like a charm and took 2min. Of course you miss out on all the great flavor in the bottom of the pan but in a hurry this is the way to go! I wanted to make sure and give credit to this great site so check out the website and the whole pasta salad recipe here @budget bites
Below is the excerpt from the recipe on how to roast the garlic. Very good to know, very easy and I will be a return customer on this quick trick.
Step By Step Photo

To cook the garlic in the microwave, begin by cutting a little off the top of the head to expose the cloves

Place the head of garlic in a small dish and drizzle about half a tablespoon of olive oil over the exposed coves. This will keep them from burning.

Place an inverted plate over top of your bowl or dish. Microwave on high, in one minute increments, until the garlic is soft and very fragrant. Mine took two minutes and after that it began to burn (even when I added water to the dish). The garlic will hiss and pop during cooking, and some of the cloves may jump out of the head!

When it’s finished, it will be soft, kind of mushy, and it will smell really REALLY good. The cloves will be about the same color as they were fresh, but they will look slightly transparant. Allow the garlic to cool.

Once it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic cloves out of the head and mince them. They’ll likely be pretty sticky.

Add to your dish and it will result in the same flavor as pan roasting. Pretty awesome!

New places

Nana called today. Checking in quickly on my new life and her voice just wrapped me up in a comfortable feeling. I got off the phone and cried because I miss her so much, and I guess i miss everything comfortable. Life has been so busy and so upside down I haven’t even had a moment to process. And this place, even with all my stuff shoved in it…it feels like someone else’s. I have a feeling like I should leave and go home but there is no home to go to. Then in that moment in some dirty gas station parking lot with tears pouring out of my eyes like I had a duct tape mouth full of peppers I knew this feeling. I knew it to my bones. It was what made Nana feel like home,its the reason the smell of her bread feels like heaven would smell to me. All those years of moving when I was a kid, sleeping on blow up air mattresses and having cheap plastic furniture. Living in places for a few months at a time that never felt settled and Nana always called me to check on me once we got settled in. Nanas house for me when i was a kid was my only place that ever felt like home. It was a steady easy constant. It could be depended on to be there with the same heavy furniture and the smell of a gas stove. That clicking sound it would make before you light the pilot on a burner still evokes a feeling in me I can’t explain. Simple joy. Nana’s house is pretty much exactly the same today as it was when I was a child. In the silence of that house is the sound of peace and its the private song of my soul. It’s what I long for in the bottom of myself. A steady constant, peace and a home. No having to show up to school and be the new girl, no worrying about where to sit because you don’t know anyone, no awkward sideways glances. It’s been so long I guess I forgot that feeling but funny how it shows right back up in life. All that being said I’m happy to be out of my comfort zone. Nana said she would show me pictures of when they lived on the military base. She told me how she took a bus all the way from her home town in Texas to California to meet Grandy at the Air Force base. She said it was awful and laughed and it made me laugh too. She had never left home before that. So I imagine someday I laugh about today and I image someday soon it feels like home and in the mean time I imagine I might make a batch of bread and feel better about life in general and I guess this is me right now finding my place that feels like mine and that’s just fine with me.

Antique punch bowl – help please if you know anything about these.

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I’m so excited about getting to use this punch bowl for a baby shower I’m throwing for my sister-in-law. It’s was my maw maw Bobbies but I don’t know anything about it. It’s beautiful but has no markings telling me where it was made. I think it’s milk glass but I don’t know a lot about that so I’m not sure. If anyone knows anything about this type of glass or where and when things like this were made please post information. Thanks!


Stress is a major downer!

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Stress is reeking havoc on my immune system.  Apparently getting married, moving, and changing jobs are three of the top five most stressful things on the stressful things list 🙂 The weird thing is my body knew I was under stress before I ever realized it.  I’m pretty much a go with the flow happy kinda girl for the most part so I really didn’t understand that I was under stress until my body started reacting to it.  I started literally getting sick. I had a fever blister break out on my lip and felt all together awful.  Like this: we were driving in the car looking for houses and I could literally feel myself starting to get sick.  Now Im usually the suck it up and stop your whining kinda girl but my body refused to listen to what my mind was telling it.  Very frustrating! So I started reading about this stuff and stress is a killer and attacks your body and I am actively working on finding some relaxation time to stop this crazy cycle of getting sick and feeling bad.  I took a bubble bath last night and I am making sure I am eating regularly and getting extra sleep.  I am mad that somehow this snuck up on me and I got stressed out without realizing it.  I read some jokes today and laughed because I’m pretty sure stress hates laughter so Im attacking it every chance I get.  Yoga classes next week and plenty of fluids.  Maybe some tea? I dont know.  ANYONE GOT ANY TIPS ON HOW TO BEAT STRESS WHEN YOU DIDN’T EVEN KNOW YOU HAD IT?? HELP!

Always: Sauté onions and garlic before adding to crock pot dishes

Well crap, here is something I just learned. I have really been having great luck with cooking lately but after making a big crockpot full of food it just tasted weird. I thought it might be because the crock pot was new and maybe that was some of it but i got to digging around a bit and found out you can’t just throw raw onions and garlic in a crock pot, you have to sauté them first to avoid getting this funny flat weird twangy taste that’s not really describable. It the science of how they react to slow cooking. I don’t know how to explain to you all the science stuff I read but I can tell you I have whole pot of food that taste weird and strange and just not right. Don’t let this happen to you! My poor husband to be just ate it anyways and said it wasn’t that bad. How very kind of him because its pretty bad. If anyone knows more about this strange little phenomenon that happens in crock pots I would be interested to learn if there are other things I just shouldn’t cook in a crock pot or put raw in one.
Link to the article I found about weird tastes in crock pots

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